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Sixth International Mining Geology Conference

Conference Proceedings

Sixth International Mining Geology Conference

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Geostatistical Simulations of Kimberlite Orebodies and Application to Sampling Optimisation

Kimberlite pipes, as opposed to dykes, sill and secondary deposits, are the primary target for diamond exploration companies because they have simple geometries and can contain large volumes of potentially diamond-bearing ore. Once discovered, important decisions have to be made regarding the sampling of these geological entities to establish the total volume of ore present, and to define the internal geology, which can be complex in nature and controls the distribution of diamond grade. It is essential that as part of this process the uncertainty in constructed geological models are assessed. In this paper the Orapa AK1 kimberlite pipe in Botswana is used as a case study to explore a potential methodology for defining this uncertainty._x000D_
The uncertainty of the rock volumes of different types can be characterised by a geostatistical approach. Geostatistical simulations, based upon a plausible representation of the geological bodies, provide different possible images of the orebody that can be considered as different realities._x000D_
By testing different borehole layouts and drilling the orebody virtually on the computer, many different, but equi-probable realisations of the pipes can be produced. It is then possible to estimate the rocks' volumes and compare them with the actual ones. A statistical analysis of the relationship between estimation error and the number of boreholes can then be used to optimise the next sampling campaign._x000D_
The rock volumes are obtained from a two-step simulation process. Firstly, the pipe geometry is simulated by means of introducing variations around the geological block model, by an original method called centre point simulation (CPS), which has been developed for this purpose. Secondly, the internal geology is then simulated within the pipe. The methodology for simulating the internal geological zones has to be adapted to the level of information and to the geological structure itself. The upper portion at Orapa AK1 is filled with sedimentary crater facies. Here plurigaussian simulation techniques can be applied that are adapted to the simulation of sedimentary facies. The central zones of the pipe are typically subvertically-oriented massive volcaniclastic deposits and breccias and the lower regions comprise a complex root zone. CPS is appropriate for these zones._x000D_
FORMAL CITATION:Deraisme, J and Field, M, 2006. Geostatistical simulations of Kimberlite orebodies and application to sampling optimisation, in Proceedings Sixth International Mining Geology Conference, pp 193-204 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).
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  • Published: 2005
  • PDF Size: 1.099 Mb.
  • Unique ID: P200606022

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